The actor discussed his childhood inspiration and work on the film.
At a New York influencer screening of Will Gluck’s Peter Rabbit, we met up with Domhnall Gleeson to discuss the film. The actor stars as Mr. McGregor, the uptight Londoner who inherits property in the countryside that puts him in conflict with the titular rabbit. All manner of hijinks ensue at the hands of the animated animal characters, expertly voiced by the likes of James Corden, Daisy Ridley, Margot Robbie, and Elizabeth Debicki. He and Rose Byrne are more or less the sole actors who appear in a capacity beyond just their voices. The film opens nationwide on February 9, 2018.
The Knockturnal: You’re not exactly known for children’s films. What made you interested in doing one?
Domhnall Gleeson: I think that’s exactly the reason why. I wanted to try something different. There’s no better sound than the sound of kids laughing and when I read the script it made me laugh. So I thought there was a good chance it would make kids laugh, and I really hope that we’ve achieved that.
The Knockturnal: This film has such an amazing cast. Were you able to work with more than just their voices?
Gleeson: I’d been lucky enough to have worked with Margot before. I’d done two jobs with Margot before that, I’d worked with Daisy before that, I’d not worked with Elizabeth Debicki… But they were not on set. James Corden was not on set. They got to do their work from a nice booth in Los Angeles somewhere while I was running around in crazy one hundred degrees in Australia, they got to put their feet up.
The Knockturnal: Was Peter Rabbit a big story for you when you were growing up? Is it a children’s story that you enjoyed?
Gleeson: No, not really! I’d heard of Peter Rabbit obviously, he’s everywhere. I kind of had Irish language books growing up and that wasn’t as big of an influence on me. One of the great things about being an actor is you get to go and you do some research and if your research is reading Peter Rabbit then everything is going pretty well, that’s a great way to spend time. So I really enjoyed getting to know the books a bit.
The Knockturnal: So do you have a favorite children’s story then? One you can maybe tell us?
Gleeson: A children’s story? Oh that’s almost impossible! I mean I was a huge, just huge Roald Dahl fan. Roald Dahl was my hero. My first time I remember crying is when I heard Roald Dahl had passed away. He was a big deal to me. And I think the person who kind of loomed largest in terms of just making me happy. Just diving into those worlds made me so happy. So I’d have to say Roald Dahl.
Photo credit: domhnall-gleeson.net